Sony and Ericsson have been enjoying their partnership for a
decade now but it seems as if all is not well in the Eurasian marriage with
reports suggesting the Japanese company is set to buy out the Sweden company.
Sony Ericsson has been producing phones since 2001 when they
joined forces to take on the then-dominant Nokia but in recent years the
partnership has failed to make a serious impact in the smartphone market and is
currently the sixth largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have spoken to “people
familiar with the matter” who say that Sony is “nearing a deal” to buy out the
50 per cent stake owned by Ericsson in the venture.
The move would allow Sony to fully integrate the smartphone
side of the business with its recently released tablets, the
up-coming PS Vita as well as its TV and console offerings.
Analysts have suggested that the deal could be worth in the
region of $1.3 billion depending on what agreements the two companies reached
about the continuing use of Ericsson’s telecoms patents.
Yoshiharu Izumi, an analyst at J.P. Morgan in Tokyo, said: “Up to now Sony’s products
and network services have all been separate. Unifying them would be positive.
If they can leverage their games and other network services I think they can
lift their share.”
Both Sony and Ericsson have not commented on the talks
taking place with the Swedish company stating: “We have a long-term
commitment to our joint ventures.”
In terms of global mobile phone rankings Sony Ericsson has
dropped from fourth position a couple of years ago to currently occupy ninth
The move would seem to make sense for Sony, considering the
joint venture’s inability to gain a major slice of the smartphone market in
recent years despite releasing flagship models such as the Xperia Arc.
With Sony Ericsson due to announce its third quarter results
next week, we could be hearing more on the possible spilt very soon.